SPRINGFIELD, Va. (WUSA9) -- If you are one of the thousands of commuters who drive I-95/395 in Virginia everyday your life will change dramatically in about six months. The new Express Lanes are set to open early next year and when they do, it could change your commuting pattern and your budget.
The Express lanes or High Occupancy Toll lanes are about 80 percent complete and over the next few months, drivers can expect to see numerous weekend and overnight closures on I-95 as workers put up the final signs, toll gantries and sound walls on the project, just in time for summer vacation traffic.
There will be three Express Lanes instead of two for part of the 29 miles. When they open the free ride during off peak hours on the HOV lanes will disappear and everyone who uses the lanes will need an E-Z Pass.
Sluggers, car pools, and vans can still ride for free if they have three people in the car. Less than three and and you have to pay for what the operator Transurban maintains will be a faster ride.
Mike McGurk, a spokesman for TransUrban which will operate the lanes says they expect the average commuter to use about 12 miles of the 29. That will cost on average of $6.00 to $8.00 dollars during rush hour.
Also disappearing with the new express lanes, the exemptions granted to those who drive Hybrid cars. They will now have to pay. The toll lanes will run from Garrisonville in Stafford County to the Arlington County line.
One distinct advantage will be the four flyovers which will allow drivers to get in and out of the Express lanes at more points along the way.